Education Theory

Education Theory






Kristi Mansolf

Libr. 250-10

December, 2006

Project Log

For this course, I have read numerous articles in the Library 250 Resources Bibliography for each topic: educational theory, curriculum and accountability, collaboration, and information literacy.

I also read the following six books: Instructional Message Design: Principles from the Behavioral Sciences, by Malcolm Fleming and W. Howard Levie; Ban Those Bird Units: 15 Models for Teaching and Learning in Information-Rich and Technology-Rich Environments, by David V. Loertscher, Carol Koechlin, and Sandi Zwaan; Accelerated Learning for the 21st Century: The Six-Step Plan to Unlock Your Master-Mind, by Colin Rose and Malcolm J. Nicholl; Concept-Based Curriculum and Instruction for the Thinking Classroom, by Lynn H. Erickson; Measuring Instructional Results, by Robert F. Mager; and, Fair Isn’t Always Equal: Assessing and Grading in the Differentiated Classroom, by Rick Wormelli.

I took notes of the content in each resource, and recorded important ideas and concepts. At the end of the course I have gained substantial knowledge in the four content areas from my research, class activities, and from my fellow classmates through the use of Elluminate technology, and from the guidance of Professor Loertscher. I have learned that many models are available of information literacy that will facilitate collaboration and greater understanding between teachers and librarians, teachers and students, and students and librarians

I have gained knowledge in the use of technology through creating mind maps and models using Adobe Illustrator and Microsoft Word, and continued learning and refining distance communication skills using the San Jose State University Blackboard, and Elluminate.

At the beginning of this course, I graded my knowledge of the content areas using a rubric scale (with 1 representing low expertise and 5 representing high expertise). The results were as follows: educational theory, 1-F; curriculum and accountability, 1-F; collaboration, 2-D; and information literacy, 1-F. To reflect my progress, I feel my skill level is as follows: educational theory, 4B; curriculum and accountability, 4-B, collaboration, 4-B; and information literacy 4-B.

From this course I have gained valuable insight into the role of the librarian, the essential collaboration necessary to make the most of the knowledge and skills of librarians and teachers when working with students, the roots of education theory and the direction it is leading, the importance of curriculum and accountability, and the importance of information literacy for everyone as we continue to strive in our quest for life-long learning.

Educational Theory

The literature of educational theory is rich with the ideas of many enlightened individuals that sparked the creative thinking of their successors to bring education to where it is today. Many important key concepts are included in this documentation. In one of the current educational philosophies, constructivism, students, through participating in engaging educational experiences are enabled to construct a meaningful view of the world. In contrast, behavioral instruction is a more traditional theory of education where students are considered to be passive learners. The educational experience is teacher-centered with all students learning the same content at the same time. Assessment is usually done based on the coursework goals and objectives, which are often aligned to school district and state standards.

Much of the body of educational theory of the last 20 years discusses constructivism, of which there are included key strategies, among them: problem-based learning, inquiry-based learning, concept based learning and project based learning. Each of these strategies support education for learners from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives.

Through students actively working with other students, teachers and librarians, common ground is found where students will also be able to develop a better understanding for their peers’ differing perspectives, and will be able to adjust their own learning, constructing new meaning, while developing critical thinking skills. They will also develop the ability to apply learning to new situations and the world around them.

Teachers have to be able to reach all learners, and each learner progresses at a different rate. Differentiation is another key idea of constructivism where teaching is geared to modifying instruction to be fair to the students, and each student is not treated equally. By using a variety of methods of teaching, and by having more than one teacher, more opportunities are provided to promote the active learning of all students.

Teaching should be centered around the student. The individual, the learning task, and the environment should all be considered before determining how to teach each subject. Role plays, art, simulations, brainstorming, hand-on activities, and creating visual representations of key ideas are just some of the tools teachers can use to make learning more active for students. Some researchers believe constructivism does not focus on a clear learning outcome and is not validated in the existing experimental research of learning. They feel behavioral or direct instruction is supported by the research, and provides a better groundwork on which to build new learning. Some feel by using both constructivist and direct instruction techniques, learning will be more effective.

One item that is consistent throughout the literature is the goal for students to be able to develop abstract and critical thinking skills, to be able to internalize content and apply it to new situations, in addition to being able to compare and contrast their ideas with others that are part of the learning community.

Curriculum and Accountability

There are many ways curriculum can be enhanced to support student-centered learning and achieve greater learning for all students.

Teachers establishing ‘thinking’ classrooms support the integration of student thinking at a deeper level of understanding and developing the ability to transfer knowledge to other situations and times. Development of intellectual standards will help students think about the quality of their thought processes and recognize the differences between recalling facts and developing critical thinking skills and conceptual understanding, while enabling teachers to have the tools to assess higher level thought.

Resource alignment, where the school library materials are aligned to the school’s curriculum through the state and or school district standards is another method to enhance the curriculum and establish a means to promote information literacy in the schools. Through the Library Media Teacher (LMT) bridging the gap between what is learned in the classroom and the information contained in the library, and then creating ways to incorporate resource-based learning into the curriculum in an effective proposed to teachers at a school, the LMT can become an effective part of the learning process.

Resource alignment will help to facilitate collaboration with teachers and obtain better support from the school administration.

.Developing a program of evidence-based practice models can demonstrate and document the positive results of collaboration, curriculum and assessment between the LMT and the classroom teacher. The model is based on the inquiry approach to research and involves students in determine project topics as well as figuring out how to achieve their learning of the topic. The LMT’s role is to guide the student’s inquiry and to provide intervention, when needed. Often the need for intervention is determined by the LMT through observation of the information seeking process. Both the classroom and the LMT work with the students to develop conceptual understanding of the material researched.

Assessment continues to drive education in public schools. While evaluation is an important element of education, the current emphasis is still the assessment of the ability of learners to recall facts and not to evaluate whether or not meaningful learning has taken place. Incorporating assessment into learning can be beneficial to the educational process, rather than just an assessment administered at the end of a module of study.

The whole point of assessment is to make student learning more effective through evaluation. As with teachers having to put more time and energy into establishing a curriculum that provides the opportunity for students from a variety of backgrounds with different styles of learning to construct meaningful learning in a classroom environment, more energy must be put into assessments that measure meaningful learning. As long as testing is done to the current standards, there is a gap and effective, active learning is not supported. Performance-based assessment should be developed to better align assessment with a meaningful curriculum.


There is the need for credentialing programs to integrate the knowledge that the Library Media Teacher (LMT) is ready and willing to collaborate on curricular areas with classroom teachers. Integration of the library media program into the school’s instructional program requires both collaboration and leadership. By being resourceful, the LMT can make the workload lighter for the classroom teacher with good planning and knowledge of the curriculum.

The LMT must know what is “best practices” in the classroom, then by listening and learning, make the necessary changes to focus on relevance to immediate and long-term needs. Familiarity with the curriculum will enable the LMT to act rather than respond to a request. Determining student differences and working with teachers to affect change could increase the LMT’s role in student-centered learning.

Collaboration between the classroom and the LMT, and the use of resource-based learning strategies can achieve better utilization of students’ multiple intelligences. Through collaborative teaching, students receive instruction from more than one teacher, so that the topic will be approached by different perspectives which will better address students’ unique learning needs. Collaboration allows for students to have such experiences as rotating through resource/instruction stations and thereby be exposed to more resources and strategies.

There is often peer reluctance in collaborative teaching, and work must be done by the LMT to change teachers’ attitudes to see the LMT as an ally. The LMT must extend themselves in many ways to totally achieve acceptance. Collaboration is essential in schools to enrich the learning environment through extension of the classroom into the Library Media Center.

Information Literacy

Many students feel they are able to successfully retrieve information, but in fact do not have the knowledge or expertise to retrieve or obtain relevant, reliable resources that will make their research more complete, interesting to them, and effective in conveying the topic explored. Noodletools defines information literacy as “a transformational process in which the learner needs to find, understand, and evaluate and use information in various forms to create for personal, social or global purposes.”

Information literacy is more of an innate, internalized desire to learn for the sake of learning. Librarians have the keys to the knowledge and can help learners of all ages to foster their curiosity and have a satisfying resolution to their research.

Learning to be socially responsible with the use of information and educational technology is something else the Library Media Technician (LMT) can teach. Librarians are the information specialists and should promote themselves as such, especially regarding collaboration with teachers or other individuals.

The Big 6 Model is one effective information literacy model, among many, and uses a 6-step process in a search: 1) the information problem is defined; 2) information seeking strategies are employed; 3) resources are located, to include location the information within the sources; 4) the information is used; 5) information is synthesized; and 6) the product/research is evaluated.

Other things come into play with information literacy. Individuals need to be able to read deeply to fully understand content to make the research process more effective. Through the classroom teacher working collaboratively with the LMT, the students can experience the library in the classroom and have access to an information rich environment. Students will learn tools that can be applied outside of the classroom.

One additional point about the versatility to which Information Literacy can be extended, is that when instructing on an ancient culture, materials and instruction need to be designed to include what major changes transformed the culture and what are they doing now? Portrayals by individuals of the culture are especially effective. Information literacy will be enhanced by a member of the culture today. Stereotypes will have less chance of developing, a greater appreciation for other cultures will be the result, and critical thinking skills will be developed. These attributes will lead to effective communication which will lead to better relationships overall on a global scale.

Information literacy is a key to developing critical thinking skills to further the effective use of knowledge.

TOPIC / COMPLETE CITATION (If this article is exceptional, it should be transferred to the recommended reading wiki) / READING NOTES / SUMMARY OF BIG IDEAS (These will be transferred to the class reading summary wiki)
Educational Theory and Practice / Abbott, John and Terence Ryan. “Constructing Knowledge, Reconstruction Schooling,” Educational Leadership, vol. 57, no. 3, p. 66-69. November, 1999. / This article explores how inquisitiveness drives children’s learning, and constructivism is the theory that bridges the gap from inquisitiveness to new learning. / Constructivism is open-ended, requiring support from the entire community a child grows in: reflects need for development of a new understanding of learning communities.
Educational Theory and Practice / Applefield, James M., Richard Huber, Mahnaz Moallem. “Constructivism in Theory and Practice: Toward a Better Understanding.”High School Journal, December 2000/January 2001. / Discussion of a variety of philosophies and principles found in constructivist theory: includes ability of learners to internalize ideas to be able to successfully compare/contrast ideas with others in the learning community. / Constructivism is a “theory about learning rather than a description of teaching.” Big ideas that allow the ability to apply and generalize knowledge should be a priority.
Theory and Practice / “Best Books for High School Reform,” a bibliography from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation website at http://

reform.htm / A synopsis of seven books, each dealing with different issues in public schools, that offer advice, guidelines and suggestions, to contribute positively to public high school communities, generally. / Issues addressed include: developing students into responsible citizens, developing moral conduct, ideas/strategies to raise achievement, best practices in teaching, learning, and leadership
Educational Theory and Practice / Brooks, Martin G. and Jacqueline Grennon Brooks. “The Constructivist Classroom: The Courage to Be Constructivist,” Educational Leadership, vol. 57, no. 3. November, 1999. / Curriculum becomes aligned with assessments, and classroom focus is placed on teaching to the test – which is limited and does not stimulate deeper understanding. Lessons that address students differing backgrounds are essential. / There is a need to assess effective constructivist learning through effective evaluation. Entire line of decision-makers should be involved to address effective evaluations.
Educational Theory and Practice / Duffy, Michael. “Montessori and School Libraries,” Montessori Life. Spring, 2005. Retrieved September 5, 2006, from: htt://
14686866/print / Montessori schools traditionally don’t use textbooks and house book collections in their classrooms. Montessori schools rarely have libraries at all and classroom collections are often unclassified but grouped by topic. / Montessori teachers should consider establishing libraries that extend the classroom environment so their students can learn how to locate and use information effectively.
Educational Theory and Practice / Enright, Marsha. Foundations Study Guide: Montessori Education. Revised, 1997. Retrieved September 5, 2006, from:
=48&printer=True / Maria Montessori saw the child as an individual. She observed children and developed materials that are sensitive to a child’s development and inquisitiveness. Teachers are trained to recognize sensitive periods in individual children and put them in touch with the right materials. / Children develop into the person they are destined to be if they have the freedom to use their innate mental powers. A true Montessori classroom provides freedom in a structured environment.
Educational Theory and Practice / ERIC Digest. “27 School Reform Models from “Tools for Schools: School Reform Models Supported by the National Institute on the Education of At-Risk Students” (April, 1998). / A compilation, by Dr. Loertscher, of models to improve learning. Each model identifies the learner group, the process or procedures recommended and the intended outcomes. / Creative approaches to the learning needs of at-risk learners, careful planning, looking at child’s needs and involving the whole community has the potential to get results
Educational Theory and Practice / Fogarty, Robin. “Architects of the Intellect,” Educational Leadership, vol. 57, no. 3, p. 76-78. November, 1999 / Explores contributions of education pioneers, and discusses how engaging education experiences enable children to construct a meaningful view of the world. / Learning/life- centered curriculum; rich environments; interactive settings; differentiated instruction; inquiry; mediation/facilitation; and metacognitive reflection are elements of constructivism.
Educational Theory and Practice / Haney, Walt. “The Myth of the Texas Miracle of Education.” Education Policy Analysis Archives. August 19, 2000. / Documentation of the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS), a standardized test that focused on higher order thinking skills, that inaccurately showed student achievement improving. / Texas became a model for the nation with the TAAS. Haney explores the many strategies that were used to hide the students not included in the results